May 23, 2005 11:01 PM by Joe Blackmon
"Trump Unauthorized," ABC’s much-anticipated dramatization about legendary real estate developer Donald Trump, will air TUESDAY, MAY 24 (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET) as an "ABC Premiere Event." The telefilm, starring Justin Louis ("Missing," "Hidden Hills") as Trump, is based on Gwenda Blair’s acclaimed biographies, Donald Trump: Master Apprentice and The Trumps: Three Generations that Built an Empire, as well as other sources.
"Trump Unauthorized" spotlights the man’s tenacity and ingenuity, hallmarks of his career ever since his beginnings in Queens, working for his father, Fred, an established and successful developer. The telefilm shows how, even as a young man, Trump was the heir apparent to his father, outshining his older brother, Fred Jr., and dreaming bigger than even his dad imagined, always with an eye to making it big in Manhattan. The movie follows Trump’s first major success, transforming the derelict Commodore Hotel into the luxury Grand Hyatt during New York’s lean economic years. As his empire grew, the telefilm shows that Trump became a master at using the media to bring favorable attention to his visions, even when he sometimes clashed with City Hall, community opponents or other ‘naysayers.’ Viewers will see how his first wife, Ivana, matched his ambition with her own drive as a businesswoman, overseeing interior design on some of his projects, as they raised three children. However, his brother Fred Jr.’s alcoholism and the unraveling of Donald’s marriage would challenge the titan. When Trump fell in love with model Marla Maples, the media glare focused on his personal life, pitting the once golden Donald and Ivana against each other. At that time his business also faltered; he neared financial collapse and had to unload some of his most glamorous assets. But, in record time, Trump orchestrated a financial turnaround that cemented his reputation as the comeback king, burnishing a legacy as one of America’s most celebrated developers and businessmen.
The star of the movie, Justin Louis, is a regular on Lifetime’s "Missing," and also starred in the TV series "Hidden Hills" and "Trinity." His other TV credits include a recurring role on "24" and guest starring on "C.S.I.," "ER," "Gideon’s Crossing" and many other shows. The role of Ivana Trump is played by Katheryn Winnick, who has guest starred on "CSI: Miami," "Oz" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." She recently portrayed herself on "The It Factor." Her film roles include the forthcoming "Cloud Nine," with Burt Reynolds, and starring in "Julian & Chalice." Actor and bestselling author Ron McLarty ("Into the Fire") plays Fred Trump Sr.; Jennifer Baxter ("America’s Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story") is Marla Maples; Saul Rubinek ("Gleason," "Rush Hour 2," "The Family Man") portrays Peter Wennik; Chris Potter ("The Pacifier") is Fred Trump, Jr.; Richard Portnow ("Laughter on the 23rd Floor") is Mayor Ed Koch; and David Lipper ("The Pacifier") is Robert Trump.
Executive producers of "Trump Unauthorized" are Barbara Lieberman ("Gleason"), Dan Lux and Vin Di Bona; producers are Jvrg Westerkamp and Michael Hagemeyer. The director is John David Coles, and the teleplay is by Keith Curran (credit not contractual). The made-for-TV-movie is produced by Barbara Lieberman Productions in association with D. Lux/Di Bona Productions, Pacific Coast Productions and Apollo ProMovie.